Archive for August 2nd, 2010

August 2nd, 2010

My Free Speech Trumps the Gospel

Muslims are already suspicious of Christian missionary activities. Acts 17 Apologetics ministry’s actions just added to the misery. It was unfortunate its members were arrested but it was not unexpected. There are indications this was their intent. Dr. Nabeel Qureish stated clearly in an interview before the arrests that Acts 17 would defy the rules of the festival. He said, “We would not follow their exact rules.” Mr. David Wood was overheard before the arrest saying that he planned to defy the rules because getting arrested would get more of an outcry or response.

We know now that these Christians were not arrested for sharing the Gospel or distributing Bibles and tracts as they have publicly said. Two things are clear. First, they didn’t follow the rules of the festival. Second, they have given conflicting statements, which show they were not preaching or distributing materials. Videos show three of them were holding cameras. The fourth one was holding a microphone arguing with Muslims and giving commentary on previous year’s incident, which involved security guards. Who was holding the Bibles and tracts among those arrested?

If preaching were the cause of their arrest, how come Mr. David Wood’s friend, the guy screaming at the police and also shouting “Jesus is Lord!” in this video here was not arrested? Witnesses say he was proselytizing Muslims at the time of the arrests. Acts 17 claimed handing out Bibles and evangelizing was prohibited, but we know it was occurring. Pastor Haytham Abi-Haydar’s church was handing out Bibles and evangelistic materials, literature Acts 17 said they could not hand out in this video here.

I wrote before how Josh McDowell was evangelizing Muslims and also answering questions on “Jesus, the Bible and resurrection” at the festival and yet he was not arrested. He even knocked on doors and went into Muslims’ homes. For those who doubt Josh’s ability to engage Muslims, Mr. Wood’s friend and former Muslim Abdu Murray of Aletheia International trained him in Muslim outreach and evangelism at the annual Legacy Conference in Dearborn the week preceding the festival. I believe this was Josh’s second year at this conference.

Another point of concern is Acts17’s assertion that Dearborn is under Sharia Law; this is simply not the case. Dearborn residents and visitors participate in evangelism. There are local ministries that go weekly throughout neighborhoods handing out Bibles, other evangelizing materials, More than Dreams DVDs, and so on.  How could this happen if there is Sharia law in Dearborn? An internationally known evangelist, a Dearborn resident, goes out weekly into Dearborn neighborhoods and parks handing out Bibles and evangelizing Muslims without incident. The only folks who cry foul are Acts 17 missionaries and their supporters most of whom were just passing through the festival or have never been to Dearborn, let alone a country under Sharia law.

Acts 17 ministry has done damage to Christian outreach to Muslims and other unbelievers. We should remain steadfast in rebuking them and asking them to work with the hard-working Christians reaching out in Dearborn.

On a side note, there were some scheduled debates during the festival that were canceled because some Muslims rescinded. I was planning on coming to Romulus for some of them and the reason I was given for the cancellations was the presence of Prophet Muhammad cartoons on Acts 17 website. This group claims to love Muslims. Sadly, their actions speak a different tune. Some Muslims objected, they argued their right to “free speech.” They come across as sarcastic and not at all concerned about the offense the cartoons are to Muslims. They lack empathy and their statements about the cartoons incite anger rather more than anything else. The cartoons are a stumbling block and by their actions they move this stumbling block in front of Muslims rather than moving on to issues which matter more like the Trinity, crucifixion, Jesus’ Sonship, etc. How would these “missionaries” expect Muslims to give them an audience when they fragrantly “insult” their prophet? Debating was one way they tried to reach out to Muslims and now that door is slam shut because of their arrogance. How sad!

On a similar note, a Florida church has scheduled international burn a Qur’an day on September 11. Not surprising, some of Dove World’s argument is also “free speech.” Is this a new trend in Christian outreach to Muslims? Whatever happened to Jesus words “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves?” Sadly, I hear “my free speech trumps the Gospel!”